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Monday, October 13, 2008

One Vote

I have been on a total news media lockdown all weekend. I spent all of last week (and the week before) glued to the news stations, watching election/economy coverage. And feeling sick. And just when I thought I couldn't feel any sicker... oh wait, yep. It gets worse.

Finally, I decided I just couldn't take it anymore, and turned off the TV. My final straw was the woman at the McCain rally, the one who called Obama an "Arab" (that implied, unspoken "dirty" just before it makes me wince, every time). They played it on the local news. On CNN. On MSNBC. On Fox. They played it...and played it...and played it.

And every single time I wanted to crawl under the covers. How embarrassing. What a sick and twisted thing the underbelly of America has become. Our shadow is huge, and yes, I wanted to ignore it, turn away, not see such a horrible, ugly thing on display for the entire world.

Thank God there are people out there willing to look at it, willing to face it, willing to hear it even aimed at themselves, and still move forward, turned toward the light of change.

Me, I like to hide. There are so many things I would rather not know. It feels overwhelming to acknowledge, and looks insurmountable on its face. I get overcome with a feeling of complete helplessness, powerlessness. What can I possibly do about it!?

But then our voter registrations came in the mail. We'd reapplied for them through the mail after we moved, and it had been several weeks. I was worried. What if we didn't get them in time? And there's always that creeping feeling/voice at the back of my head... maybe there really is a conspiracy to keep voters from the polls?

But now that I have this little piece of paper in my hand, I know that there is one thing I can do. It's a small thing, but it's a very important thing, perhaps the most important thing.

I can speak up. I can stand up and be counted and let my voice be heard. It's just one voice for change, but as Mahatma Ghandi once said: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

So I will take my little card and go to the little local high school, and I'll vote. And from my rural community, I'll watch our impending global collapse and the possibility of change from my television - a strange window to the rest of the world - and I'll read my Internet news, connected to a global community...

But I'll be thinking of the words of Mohandas Ghandi:

Men should do their actual living and working in communities small enough to permit of genuine self-government and the assumption of personal responsibilities, federated into larger units in such a way that the temptation to abuse great power should not arise.

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